For Alexander Molochnikov, 2020 was not an example of a fruitful one. Maneuvering between the tightening and easing of quarantine rules, Molochnikov presented a large-scale performance “Bulba. Feast ", an absolute hit of the Theater on Malaya Bronnaya, surprised" Kinotavr "with the premiere of the family drama" Tell her "about divorced parents who put a child before a choice, had a coronavirus and caused the anger of telegram administrators - they say, there is nothing to go to" Kinotavr ". And also managed to fall in love and even hone the foxtrot and samba in the TV project "Dancing with the Stars".
In 2019, you left the Moscow Art Theater, where you played for eight years and staged performances. This happened after a new artistic director, Sergei Zhenovach, came there. It is known that you did not support his candidacy, and the formal reason for dismissal was Zhenovach's phrase addressed to you: "You are not a director, you are an actor." At the same time, you have behind you an acting and directing course at GITIS with Leonid Kheifets … We asked ourselves the question, who is more in you - an actor, director or screenwriter?
How did you start out dashingly. Not expected. As a child, I wanted to be a "derektar" of the theater, and I wrote this word with three mistakes. Now I understand that I just don't want to be a director. But then it seemed to me that the director was the most important. Apparently, since childhood, I wanted to take leadership positions somewhere.
When I entered college as an actor, I was 16. A colloquium took place - this is a conversation where it turns out that all the applicants who were recruited had not read a single book. I remember that I was very afraid that they would ask me what year the Battle of Poltava took place. I brought a work about Lev Dodin's play "Lord of the Flies". When Heifetz read it, he said: "You need to study directing too."
The first year I studied both as an artist and as a director, literally spent the night at the institute. It didn't work either there or there. I had to quit directing, but I still lagged behind both those and others … I studied to be a sucker in the end.
New teachers who came to us in their third year asked me: "Is it true that you once directed here?" At some point, I even lost faith that I could be a director, although the desire to do something remained.
Directing, honestly, fascinates me much more. As an actor, I have very little faith in myself. I think that something can only work in the hands of a very good director. There are examples that I'm a lousy actor.
Just before the New Year, a short film "Outstanding Olivier" with your participation was released.
Here's an example.
When Molochnikov, the director, appears on the set as an actor, also for a young director, does he somehow want to integrate into the process, to rebel, to conflict?
I understand how disgusting it can look and how unpleasant it is for the director. This is the worst thing that happens. This is one of the worst forms of acting - trying to direct.
I try to shut myself up and obey as much as possible. It seems to me that I am very compliant. If there is no collapse, then I try to somehow help a little.
It seems to me that if you are an actor, so completely surrender yourself to the director. Kirill Semenovich Serebrennikov once said that it is generally very convenient to work with directors, because they understand very well what an actor who is trying to direct is, and they consciously turn it off in themselves.
© Georgy Kardava
How do you feel about the fact that now people of different professions come to directing? Someone generally believes that there is no need to study, there is everything on the Internet. We read about the composition, about the color - and we shoot.
Should I argue about whether to study filmmaking if I have not studied?
But you still have such a large base and master.
I still have a master who has nothing to do with cinema. The way we studied has nothing to do with filmmaking.
You here, in fact, hit a rather painful point, because I understand perfectly well that cinema is a very serious craft that you need to master. The fact that it turned out to shoot two films is rather an accident. The disadvantages of these films are related, among other things, to my lack of directorial education. I am very seriously, you can’t even imagine how much, I’m thinking about how to fill in this gap and learn in the near future. But not in Russia. Although, probably, if you get to the course of Alexander Nikolaevich Sokurov, it would make great sense. But … There is just a specific school in Los Angeles, in which I would be interested to study. There, it seems to me, you can find out what I don’t recognize here.
It's not just about knowledge. The point is also in the sphere of other students, in which I will fall. In Los Angeles, while preparing for the film Tell Her, I found myself in a house in the Hollywood Hills, where the writers and directors were sitting, and the level of their dialogue impressed me greatly. In such houses, those series are born that we admire.
Los Angeles is the center of cinema, it concentrates talented people from all over the world, there you can get those ideas, catch on to those sounds and currents, meet those people whom I simply would not have met here. A talented Japanese boy who knows what a Japanese village is hidden …
I shouldn't have said this, because somehow I want it to happen. And it often happens that when you talk about something, it does not happen.
Can your viewer change? In the sense that you will start making films not for the Russian audience.
Probably. After all, I lived there, I'm interested in doing something for their viewer too. After all, the center of the film world is still America. Our industry has grown greatly in recent years, even in the past difficult year. And yet we are proud that they buy our series, and not they are proud that their series was bought by "First".
The pandemic was a boom in cheap filmmaking, a flash of screen life. You turned to this genre in 2019, when you shot the film Runaway to Arizona with Svetlana Khodchenkova.
But this is not a screenlife after all. This is such a cheap form of mobile phone photography. There was no money for a regular camera. The cameraman Seryozha Kozlov, who filmed "House Arrest" and worked with Todorovsky a lot, was supposed to come there. At some point, technical difficulties arose, and on the third day, simultaneously with Sveta, we realized that we had such a degree of frankness with her that the operator would somehow interfere all the time.
When you are alone with a person, you take pictures of each other on the phone, this is one state. When there is still a cameraman with a camera … He will shoot better: beautifully, artistically, but this is something else … Something seems to be gone. Excuse me, gentlemen, operators, I didn't mean to offend anyone. But sometimes there is a movie without you.
1 of 4 Still from the movie "Runaways to Arizona" © hd.kinopoisk.ru / screenshot Still from the movie "Runaways to Arizona" © hd.kinopoisk.ru / screenshot Still from the movie "Runaways to Arizona" © hd.kinopoisk. ru / screenshot Still from the movie "Runaway to Arizona" © hd.kinopoisk.ru / screenshot
There was no desire to repeat the pandemic and quickly remove the screenlife or something on the phone?
To be honest, I now want to move towards the aestheticization of the frame and the search for art forms more difficult than the telephone. Now everyone has become operators, and I think at some point there will be a rollback. People will begin to appreciate serious camera work, get tired of filters, from the fact that everyone can take a phone and make a pseudo-beauty.
I really liked how the picture "Tsoi" was shot, in the spirit of the pictures of the early 90s. I realized that it is such a pleasure for me to watch this. I don't know, did they shoot on film? Hardly. Cinema is not fashionable, but modern at the same time - much nicer than a beautiful picture.
A beautiful picture is just a set of techniques that everyone has already mastered, plus or minus, learned to put a decent light. As with rap: everyone learned to read some kind of punchy, as Oksimiron said, but the essence is in the personality. There must be content behind the form.
© Georgy Kardava
A story took place at Kinotavr that could have formed the basis for a short film. You presented the film "Tell her" with Svetlana Khodchenkova and Serebryakov and a couple of days later you got a positive test for coronavirus, despite the fact that before the premiere they passed the test and it was negative. You talked about this honestly enough in your social networks to warn the people you met. But the wave that rose because of this post, apparently, was not expected?
Not expected. Well, if I had expected, I would hardly have done so. Although someone says that I enjoy black PR. But when everyone starts reviling you, it doesn't bring any pleasure.
It seems to me a funny situation: the person is actually blamed for the beginning of the second wave of covid (smiles). I'm not smiling because it all seems funny to me. The coronavirus question is not at all funny, some of my friends did not survive this time. But this particular situation was comical. The short was supposed to be, yes. About the person who went to the event, took a picture with everyone and … Working title - "Asshole". Because just some publications wrote that I was an asshole.
The situation was also unpleasant because when you are sick, then due to the loss of tastes and smells, a certain emptiness and depression arises. Given that I am not a very depressed person. It's just that when the whole film community of the festival is outraged that you are sick, it is very unpleasant. Probably, this checks to some extent those people who called and asked: "How do you feel?" Somehow separates them from everyone else. But it is also wonderful that there are such moments.
The team of the film "Tell her" on the red carpet of the festival "Kinotavr", September 2020 © press service of the festival "Kinotavr"
Question about your theatrical premiere “Bulba. Feast "on" Taras Bulba ", with which everything was not easy. The leading actor, Alexander Kuznetsov, left a few days before the premiere to act in foreign films, other actors fell ill. I had to reschedule the show dates. The audience in the hall was getting smaller - first 50 percent, then 25. Which of these things hurt you more?
There was nothing really sick, to be honest. In some seconds you fall into despair when you find out that the seating arrangement is 25 percent. But this is a separate topic, we can return to it. I think it's not very good that we got used to it and just put up with it. The question is how long will this last.
Each of these episodes, in general, is somehow experienced. Sasha's departure two days before the premiere was very painful, but then somehow everything worked out. In general, a successful premiere and the success of each performance that is played further completely removes all previous problems. Even if the actors hated you, you hated the actors, there were some wildest conflicts at rehearsals, as a rule, the success of the premiere washes away a lot, as if there was nothing.
Yes, the premiere was postponed … This develops an easy attitude and understanding that you need to work until they say “stop” directly.
A successful premiere is important, but when every time you see not even a half-empty hall, but 25 percent …
I don't understand this situation at all. I, like many, do not understand why airplanes have one hundred percent seating. I've heard the argument that people need to take the subway and fly on airplanes, but there is no such need to go to the theater. This is a very controversial thesis, very difficult - how much a person needs art in general. During the blockade, my grandfather's cousin showed performances made of forks and rags and made him forget about hunger and not go crazy.
Well, it's nonsense that a person drives a packed Sapsan, and then comes to the theater and there he is at a distance, for some reason the seating arrangement is 25 percent … This is simply deadly for the industry. Many small theaters are already disappearing. And how many large ones will exist … Probably, everyone who is subsidized will survive, but in general there is a feeling that someone is trying to kill our industry.
This is a very difficult psychological situation for actors - not to work, not to go on stage. You can look for new forms, but all these screenlife are already sick of the wildest. The product must be clean.
Theater is when crowded, the audience hangs on chandeliers and a miracle on the stage. But these 25 percent … They still came to Bulba and bought tickets, which became quite expensive due to the whole situation, so we had to burst even more than with a full hall.
Nevertheless, the fact that the theatrical community has accepted all the restrictions is still a typical intellectual weakness. We all suffered a little. There was not enough influential theater lobby to insist on normal conditions. And in air traffic there is clearly such a lobby. Could have put 25 percent there too.
A scene from the performance of the Moscow Art Theater. Chekhov's "The Amazing Journey of Edward the Rabbit." The role of Edward brought Alexander Molochnikov the Oleg Tabakov Prize "For the bright and deep embodiment of the image of a porcelain doll with a living heart on stage" © mxat.ru
I will return to the situation with Alexander Kuznetsov. When you told Ksenia Sobchak in an interview about his filming in "Fantastic Beasts", they took up arms against you in a telegram - they say, why did you reveal this secret.
I haven't read it. Honestly, this is the first time I hear that they took up arms in a telegram. It was not presented as a secret, it was a rumor. Whether it was in the official field - I had no idea, I don't follow Alexander's press releases, with all due respect. Voicing this from Sobchak, I did not know that it would frame him.
After recording the interview, Sasha and I communicated, I said that there would be such a joke, he hinted that it was not very good that the name sounds, I asked Ksyusha to remove it, but it was already too late, this is her business … I am discouraged that they are pretty decent people, not the yellow press, allow you to write "deliberately framed, revenged" …
Alexander Kuznetsov: "We must fight not for Nika, but at least for Cannes"
Why did you tell it? Is it just emotion or revenge?
Look, are you seriously asking the question about revenge? Or are you provoking me? Does anyone really think that it is possible to specifically name a project so that a person would be worse off? What is revenge, I do not understand. What is the purpose of the avengers in this situation?
Sasha and I have been working for six years, traveled to Africa, filmed a short film in an African tribe, trampled cow cakes with barefoot … Not that we were unrealistic friends, we crossed paths more in our work. But I wish him good luck in every possible way and I believe that he will succeed in what, perhaps, no one else here succeeded. Perhaps he will be the first artist who will be able to play not only the roles of Russians without words, but also big roles there. Sasha told me at the very beginning that if there is a foreign project, he will leave. I went for it. Nobody knew that this would happen two days before the premiere, Sasha himself did not know, such is the situation. When it was revealed, I was angry. Sasha was on the posters, people bought tickets for him and, by the way, they handed them over. But, I repeat, a successful premiere, as a rule, washes away absolutely all grievances.
In general, I am not an extremely vindictive person. Fortunately, everything ended very well.
© Georgy Kardava
Do you follow the news?
The main news is all on the surface. Mom sends me some things (mother of Alexander Molochnikov is a journalist).
Or maybe the director is out of touch with the agenda?
There are bad directors who are out of touch with the agenda. There are monks who communicate with higher powers and are not interested in the daily news. But many directors, big ones like Lev Dodin, are watching what is happening. They do not check telegrams every minute, but in general, important news does not pass them by.
You have dual citizenship - as you know, you also have American citizenship. Follow the news on Russian-American relations? How do you deal with foreign policy conflicts? Don't you think about it to shoot something?
I think yes, that's my topic. Such a teleconference between Posner and Donahue needs to be restored. I am interested in this dialogue between the great powers, which, alas, has become a war in recent years. America is also quite a beautiful, humane country, and not a dark state, about which we are constantly being told from the central channels.
Now some new forms are emerging in a global sense, in a historical one. After all, we did three performances about history (“19.14”, “Rebels”, “The Bright Path. 19.17” at the Chekhov Moscow Art Theater. - “RBK Style”). Certain things interest me very much. It seems to me, for example, that the emergence of telegram channels is still a new story.
There are, for example, a couple of channels that write about the backstage life of theater and cinema. This, in principle, in a broad sense, does not bother anyone. Only the people inside are worried. These channels have some kind of email that anyone can write to. Then there is a group of people who concentrate all this and give it out in an acute form. Accordingly, everyone can write to these channels to some extent. But in general it reminds something.
It seems to me that the 37th year is an exaggeration. For example, the end of the 60s, when cute gatherings in the kitchens ended with a large number of denunciations and landings … Fortunately, we haven’t gotten to that yet, but in any case, there is already a deprivation of work for people, a column in the Pravda newspaper …
When it was the tabloid a few years ago, no one seriously reacted. For some reason, the Telegram channel as a source has become very authoritative. When this "Moscow case" was going on and the guys who threw in a plastic cup were seated, we made a series of single pickets at the presidential administration in support of Ustinov first, and then all the defendants.
On the first or second day, actress N calls me and says: "Sash, listen, here the Telegram channel so-and-so writes that all the new ones we support are still to blame." She is not a fool, there are a lot of people like her. But for her, the Telegram channel, in contrast to the central channels, is an impeccable authority precisely because a large number of people from the industry once wrote reliable denunciations there. Do you understand? As a result, she does not go back to this one-off picket, which, as it seems to me, supports the guys who are really innocent. This is a rather tragic phenomenon.
In early autumn, there was a scandal with actress Ekaterina Shmakova. She starred in a television sketch in support of the current government of Belarus. And after the criticism fell upon her, she apologized. Where do you think the line is? Why an actor on the screen can play the role of a maniac, a ghoul, but cannot in political agitation?
I think this is obvious. If a person plays a hero who builds the Crimean bridge, this is a kind of reality. And the ghoul is not.
How can you explain this difference to young artists who are afraid of being blacklisted for not filming? And what is the difference between those actors who understand this and who do not?
There is always a personal choice. If a person wants to drown for power, this is also his business. If he does it for money, that is also his business. I am not someone who puts forward formulas for how to live correctly. You just need to believe in your talent. For example, Sasha Bortich, Sasha Pal and many others who went to the picket to the presidential administration to support Ustinov (and the actor Pavel Ustinov - RBC Style) - could they be blacklisted after that? They could. Did they take some risk? Let's go. But, apparently, belief in one's own strengths and ideals was stronger.
I heard that there was a meeting where all of the above were really brought in somewhere. But nothing, pah-pah-pah, they are perfectly removed. I think that it was just at that moment that they understood that it was impossible not to do that. If you feel that you cannot do this, then what can stop you? And if you feel that you cannot but support, say, United Russia, then you need to support it. I have not had such moments and are not expected, but someone, probably, can have.
© Georgy Kardava
Has the pandemic taken away more from you as a creative person, or has it given you more?
It seems to me that it is incorrect to talk about a pandemic that gave something, when, in general, many died. During this time, I got more experience than if there were no pandemic. Paradoxes of life … Probably, this year for me personally was one of the best. But I understand perfectly well that it is strange to hear this for those whose relatives have died.
The pandemic extended the feeling of depression and presented a way out of creative dead ends, made it possible to discover something new for oneself.
In principle, understanding some important moments in life is great. In my two works - a play and a film - the pandemic taught me how to work in blocks. It is very comfortable. Now I want to do the next performance, which means I need to rehearse - a month, then a break, again a month of work, again a break. This means that there is an opportunity to rethink something. I think this improves the result.
The story of the pandemic also taught me, as a director, to work to the end, until a person walks in right here and says: "No, there will be no performance." Until this moment, we have been rehearsing as if everything would go the way we wanted.
What would you not have done if it hadn't been for the pandemic?
Nothing … Well, I wouldn't have taken part in Dancing with the Stars. Wouldn't fall in love, maybe.
You are now writing a script. What will it be?
This is a series, but I won't talk about what. We also started doing a performance at the Theater on Malaya Bronnaya, now everything is at the casting stage. It will be Chekhov, the play "Fatherlessness". In fact, it is not called in any way, it was mistakenly, as it turned out, called "Fatherlessness". This is Chekhov's first play, although it is not completely clear when he wrote it, because it was presented to the world 17 years after his death. We are now poking around with great interest.
"The Seagull" in the Bolshoi will be released on July 1. This is also a very responsible and reverent occupation - to try yourself in ballet. It's even strange to say it out loud.
There are problems with cinema now, you know. See how it all fails. Nobody walks. It seems to be very difficult to launch an author's film now. I can't even imagine what kind of auteur cinema will be given money now. Still, it seems now is the time to try the show.